In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog: scratchingforchange.blogspot.com

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

jescordwaineratgmail.com

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Immigration Nonsense

First, the current problem with immigration is not a problem with immigration; it's a problem with an illegal invasion. Avoiding the legal process only means the respect for the citizens doesn't exist. It's as criminal as burglary.

The United States is the home of a multitude of races, religions, and ethnicity heritages, but the mandate for all is allegiance to the country, a demand for liberty, ethics that only accept a willingness to be productive, and understanding that individual rights are written into law. There are no gray areas to these requirements, and too many are unwilling to accept these things are necessary for a healthy society.

I don't think enough in Washington D.C. understand the requirements of citizenship, abuse their powers to illegally try to change the Constitution, and are unwilling to discard their contrary agendas. Otherwise, they may be more of a harm to the nation than those coming without permission. Regardless, they too should be taken to task for their transgressions, and made aware of the consequences, which due to their actions, requires criminal charges, and prosecution.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Quandary of Corruption

After years of management, I've observed people at both ends of the spectrum, and how they perform their tasks. While there are many methods, only two important distinctions can be applied to all: right and wrong. Either a person is willing to correct mistakes to do things the right way, or they're willing to do anything to absolve responsibility for bad decisions, or actions; and the methods to handle this usually don't shine a favorable light on the person.

Hillary Clinton erased emails she said were not important. Her further explanation detailed those she erased were frivolous, with the content only involving the wedding of her daughter, the death of her mother, or yoga techniques. Investigation revealed she destroyed records of communications with her aides, and the emails were about business of The Department of State. Her action of erasing these emails not only violated policies she swore to uphold, they violate criminal statutes.

So now, the evidence is accumulating, many members of the Department of State obviously are involved, and it's likely the F.B.I. investigation will lead to a recommendation for charges, indictments and prosecution.

Loretta Lynch is the Attorney General with the power to bring evidence to a grand jury. With what's known, honest people will  think she has no other options, and must pursue indictments, but there's the opinion she won't, which leads to her quandary: Should she continue pursuing the agenda of her political beliefs, which allows a lack of integrity? Or should she do what's right, and honor her oath to uphold the laws of the United States?

Time will tell what she does, but even if she doesn't pursue charges, there is the possibility of future Attorney Generals finding her malfeasance as criminal, and she could have her pension removed at best, or spend time in jail, with monetary fines.

She has a quandary, has the eyes of a nation on her actions, and will face many problems, however she decides to act.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Leo" Revisited

I wrote the following a few years ago. My wife brought him up today, since we were talking about the wisdom of those that labor, make an honest living, and agonize over the correct amount to charge. It may seem high, but if the person is honest, it's only fair. 

Some people don't realize the labor of a person is trading pieces of their life for material goods, that can be building a road, or baking a special wedding cake. It's trading time - which is more precious than all the gold in the world - for something that is tenuous. 

Enjoy

                                                                     ***

I'll call him Leo. That wasn't his name, but his name isn't as important as he was.

Leo was born near Baton Rouge in the 40's. His early years in life didn't include school, but they did include long summers of helping with the bills by picking cotton. His fate in life was the fate of many others, unless he escaped, which he did.

Leo found a job with a contractor working in a refinery in Baton Rouge. It was hard labor work at first, but he wasn't content, so he patiently learned different crafts. He learned to build forms, pour concrete and finally, he learned to operate heavy equipment, which is what he was doing the first time I saw him on a project.

Leo had the touch for operating heavy equipment. I remember the first time I ever saw him suddenly stop, take a look, and announce: "There's something down there". We were excavating for pipes and he felt a difference in the controls. I took a shovel and jumped in the trench.

As I carefully hand excavated, I kept expecting something large, such as a piece of concrete, or a large tree root to be uncovered. Instead, I found a telephone cable smaller than my little finger. He hadn't even skinned the insulation. Other than a small crimp, the cable was like new. I was impressed. I was, also, relieved to know I didn't have to worry about my safety, since careless operators had killed many by digging through a gas line.

Over the years, Leo and I, worked many long days on different projects. Although he usually operated equipment, he wouldn't hesitate to help with anything. His skills weren't lost. He could hang with the best and work young men to the point they had to admit respect. He seemed tireless and his strength was phenomenal. He would hand tighten a fitting and I had to take a wrench to remove it.

I know Leo lost money over the years helping some of the hands through a pinch. Most would pay him back, but some left and never settled their debt. It would anger me, but he'd let it go. I felt they were abusing his kindness; he was wiser of such things and knew he would never loan money he couldn't afford.

Leo had good advice for many a young men. He'd give it to help; not to prove anything. His experiences in life weren't to be dismissed, although some would ignore what they should have paid to acquire. When he realized his advice was falling on deaf ears, he never became angry, or attempted to help any longer. He'd only shake his head and walk away. I could see the sadness on his face. He knew suffering would follow his ignored advice.

Leo wasn't a saint. He had his brush with the law. While it could be blamed on the amount of alcohol he'd drink after work, I only felt it contributed. He had good cause. I still remember when it happened:

We started that morning at daylight. We were preparing a concrete pour and were pushing hard to get the concrete poured before the rain that was forecasted. It was early winter and the high cirrus were a sign of what was to come.

We finished our preparation before noon and started pouring, which meant a sandwich, if you had it, and a long afternoon finishing concrete. It was hard work and added to the fatigue of the morning. We were finished pouring before 3:00 but there was much more to be done.

The high cirrus had long been replaced by a lowering deck of gray stratus. We could smell the moisture in the air and knew the damp cloudy weather would only slow down the curing of the concrete. Finishing the concrete would take long hours and we were only "babysitting", until we could put the final finish. We hid from the cold damp wind and waited; the cold had found the lost injuries of youth, which it pulled and twisted until they ached.

By dark, the concrete still hadn't set enough to place the light broom finish required. This meant even more long hours. We didn't finish until 10:00 pm. We'd done all we could, we covered the slab and left with the first sprinkles on the windshield.

Leo was giving me a ride to my truck in the adjoining town. I asked him to stop at a convenience store, so I could get something to drink. He suggested a Sprite and some plastic cups. I thought it was a good idea. I did what he suggested, he poured us each a half glass of Bourbon and I topped them with Sprite. We were set for the 20 minute ride. He turned the heater up and we thawed as we traveled. Leo dropped me at my truck and went home. His recollection of reaching home has stuck with me to this day.

When Leo walked in, he found his warm home full of in-laws, his family, and a few visitors. The smell of home cooked meal caused his stomach to growl. As he surveyed the group of people - some he cared about; some he felt abused his kindness - he went to the kitchen to eat. He opened the covered pots, only to find they were empty. They hadn't left him anything to eat. His blood boiled.

Leo returned to the front room and told everyone to leave. He went on a tirade, told them how worthless they were, and was rewarded with disbelief and words about not having to leave. His response was to go to the bedroom, get his 380 and return. After emptying two rounds in the ceiling, they decided to leave, but the night wasn't over. The police came, brought him to jail and he didn't go home until the next morning.

Leo's wife, who he later divorced, decided not to press charges, but new laws allowed a junior District Attorney to pursue charges. Leo was given 5 years probation, AA and community service. He completed all and put that chapter of his life on a shelf.

One early Spring morning, Leo slipped from the dew-slick tracks of an excavator and injured his back. He tried to work through the pain, but was forced to leave and consult a doctor. Preliminary tests didn't find anything, so they chalked it up as a strain and the doctor started treatment.  It didn't help.

The doctor decided to run more tests, which found something they weren't expecting....cancer. They made an effort, but the cancer was the type that metastasizes before it's found. Leo dropped one hundred pounds in a month, faded, and was gone. I guess I was shocked. I know my heart hurt.

As I write, I realize there's still sadness from losing Leo. I can still see his big smile, which he had every morning without fail. Nothing fazed him so much as to not find a brightness in the start of each day or prevent him from whistling the same happy tune.

I don't think you can ever really put in words the admiration you have for some people. It's beyond words, so you only do the best you can. I'm thinking life gives you some treasures. Knowing Leo was one of mine.




Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Woodpeckers

In the early Spring, a pair of Downy Woodpeckers homesteaded a hole in the pecan tree. I watched them fight off Starlings and hoped they'd win. Eventually, the tree budded, and then filled with leaves, which left the woodpeckers unseen. Trying to see if they were there was fruitless.

On Sunday, while in the yard, I heard a bird sound that was familiar, but I couldn't remember what type it was. After a few minutes, I realized it was the fussing of the Downy Woodpeckers' and they were intent on making an intruder leave.

Eventually, a few doves flew away, and I caught a glimpse of one of the small woodpeckers. They were still homesteading, and I was content they'd stayed.

The mated pair of Red Belly Woodpeckers are a different story. They have no fear of any other bird, and will chase them away from the feed I place, when they call from the trees. They chase off any intruder, and will spend long minutes eating the oranges placed in a cage on a tree.

My father loved to watch birds. I never realized why, until the last few years. Birds are remarkably intelligent, take care of their family, and woodpeckers have become my favorite. I hope a few Red Headed Woodpeckers will eventually come, like those I watched when I was young. They'll add to the families of woodpeckers I love to watch.

Relative Heat

According to the NWS wizards, the heat index is 106 degrees today. I believe them, and am not looking forward to the rest of the Summer.